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Empowering Children to Make the World Safe, Free, and Kind

July 22, 2015

One way that children learn about the world around them and other cultures is through the social messages found in stories. Stories help children understand how society perceives their culture as well as [other cultures] … children are greatly influenced by the stories they encounter.

Written for the Association for Library Service to Children by Jamie Naidoo (2014)

most of what children read is filled with ideology ... ideologies have potential powers of persuasion, they are no less persuasive because they’re hidden  (Sutherland 1985:157).

When children don’t see themselves or their communities – what opinions consciously and subconsciously are they forming about themselves … their families …their appearance … their clothes … their  faith? What are they thinking?

Canada has invested heavily in children’s literature.

The Canadians are convinced about the “the importance of providing children access to Canadian books that tell Canadian stories with Canadian settings, and celebrate Canadian values” (Howson & Edwards 2009:2).

“the premier of Ontario announced a commitment to spend $80 million in additional funding for elementary school libraries. The funding is intended to help all elementary schools add books and alternative formats of print-based resources to their kindergarten to grade 8 library collections” Howson & Edwards 2009:1).

"Familiar emotions, activities, families, and surroundings are sensed through the depiction of the characters and story settings. To evolve a national identity, youngsters need to develop ... a feeling of 'This is where I belong'. It is crucial, therefore, that they see their communities ... country reflected accurately and authentically in literature" Black  & Jobe 2005

“When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part” (Bishop 1990).

 

 

 

 

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